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The Lethal Spectre

The Lethal Spectre: Donna Fletcher Crow

 

Within this world in the past and present there are those that consider themselves above others. The caste system is prominent within the pages of this novel as we get to know the status and rankings of the many faces that we’ll meet. Sophia is about to be presented into society. Some present are enamored by her appearance while others judge her by her breeding and parentage. Antonia and Charles are at this event to present Aunt Aelfieda’s ward, Sophia. Shadows overtake the mind and thoughts of Antonia as she worries about a close friend in India caught in the crossfire of brutal murders and massacres in “the book of time.” We hear many voices as Antonia dreams of her friend in a desolate place riddled with disease death murder and despair. The event brings out many voices and we learn about India the mutiny and the fears that many have that it’s just the beginning of dangerous times to come. But within each meeting or talk there are overtones about the many mores and classes and prejudice as well as racism.

The most chilling event begins on their journey home, as their carriage seems to careen over a body that on closer inspection was dead. Did the carriage driver run over it or was this murder? Events lead to the authorities coming and specifically realizing it was murder and a discussion ensues as to who this person was.

Things take on a Historical tone as we learn more from the wife of the murdered Musselman and a tradition that she feared would be carried out on her. Tonia’s visit a friend bright to Light some info but what her servant learned was more enlightening.

Gossip seems to fuel their conversations and learning more about India and the mutiny is what Antonia is concerned with hoping to find out more about her friend and the reader wonders if these thoughts of Emilia’s are hers or what Antonia is dreaming,

 

Learning more about the east India company and going along with her brother Freddy whose doing missionary work we get a better picture of the poverty and poor conditions that so many endure. Learning more Antonia hopes to understand her dreams about Emilia and what she’s enduring.

Things seemed to rise but in the end Emilia and those I’m imprisoned with her would learn the lies and deceptions to follow, as now their situation was direr. While she suffered we learn more about the intentions of several for Sophia’s hand yet one would be more suitable the choice was not hers. Captain Anson seemed to like Alice but once again the Dowager aunt would decide. The beach as respite but Antonia’s mind often drifted in other directions while Danvers would enlist Hardy’s help in getting information about another master.

The murder is not solved and the victim’s wife when interviewed seems afraid as if there’s a hidden force that endangers her while at the same time Antonia seems to feel there’s one she can’t see and Emilia too.

Somehow Lord Penthurst shows up at a clandestine meeting why?

Danvers becomes suspicious. Returning home things get more complicated with discussions about the East India company and nana sahibs emissary in London and at devils dyke he needs to learn more. A copy of a newspaper sets off Sophia about her mother’s safety and events in India focusing on the mutiny of the troops, banks and treasury plundered. European inhabitants murdered. Fearing it was taking place in Cawnpore little did they know they were right? Danvers tried to allay their fears by explaining the rest of the article and then tossing it. Hoping they believe his geography lesson they calmed down.

Events change and a day at the beach unveils another murder of an officer and an elopement of another. While Agatha goes on a rampage the Dowager Duchess takes matter in hand as everything is appearances as the author gives readers another lesson in aristocratic protocol.

The murder takes a backseat to the events in India and we learn that Chandrika went home to her family but was it of her own free will as Antonia has another lucid dream about her friend and what she sees brings what reverend Frederick brings to light and more.

A ball that was to be special provides some surprises when one person goes missing and another is charged with murder. Someone is smuggling opiates and it points to a person of high station making someone’s disappearance all the more terrifying.

The ending provides some unanswered questions and the identity of who was behind all of the murders and who abducted Sophia. The ending once again is a new beginning for some and the final fate if Emilia yet to be known as Antonia’s dreams were they really realities? When you read the Afterward you will learn which facts are fact are fact and exactly what Nana Sahib did and the accounts recounted in this thoroughly researched novel. The lets readers know that author Donna Fletcher Crow has more in store for Antonia and Charles plus and hopefully we’ll learn more about the others. A multi-complicated plot filled with historical events that bring to light what happened on July 17th the morning after the massacre, Nana Sahib went a burial party to the BIbighar to dispose of the bodies. What he did to the unfortunate deceased was horrific as it is described in the book. The author describes in the afterward what the English officers did when they entered the Bibighar and the condition of a prayer book. What Antonia sees in her dreams the author relates in more detail in the afterward for readers to understand the horrors that she saw and what Emilia endured. Emilia’s time in India is based on the historical account of Isabel White who was persuaded by her friend Louisa Chalwin, to accompany her on her return to India because it was a fine place to find a husband. When you read more about Louisa and her friend and those that died at the hands of the rebels the shock will take time to wear off. Other important facts are described and the ending will leave you wondering the fate of certain characters, how Antonia will deal with the harsh truth about her friend and what else is in store for the Danvers. Complex, factual and quite informative a novel that most will enjoy reading for the history, the events and the interaction among the different classes and of course Hardy gets my vote for great character and resourceful in time of peril.

The spectre is referred to as something unpleasant, or something that Antonia is frightened might occur. “In folklore, a ghost (sometimes known as an apparition, haunt, phantom, poltergeist, shade, specter or spectre, spirit, spook, and wraith) is the soul or spirit of a dead person or animal that can appear to the living.”https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/spectre

Learn more when you find out more about the spectre or the ghost when reading this outstanding novel.

Fran Lewis: just reviews/ MJ network/MJ magazine

 

 

 

 

About Just Reviews by:gabina49:

author educator book reviewer for authors reading and writing staff developer Book reviewer for manic readers, ijustfinished.com book pleasures and authors upon request blog tours on my blog and interviews with authors I am the author of five published books. I wrote three children's books in my Bertha Series and Two on Alzheimer's. Radio show talk host on Red River Radio/Blog Talk Radio Book Discussion with Fran Lewis the third Wed. of every month at one eastern. I interview 2 authors each month feature their latest releases. I review books for authors upon request and my latest book Sharp As A Tack or Scrambled Eggs Which Describes Your Brain? Is an E book, Kindle and on Xlibris.com Some of the proceeds from this last book will go to fund research in the area of Brain Traumatic Injury in memory of my sister Marcia who died in July.

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